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How do contextual factors affect language use?

This is a broad question, and in the exam it is more likely that you will be asked how contextual factors affect language use in particular modes. That said, there are some universal ideas which you can apply to see how to go about answering these questions.

Whatever the mode is -- let's say it's text messaging -- you need to consider the features of language specific to this mode. Text language has nearly exclusive use of emoticons, for example. It's also a nice example because (and you can and should point this out) it is somewhat of an amalgamation between spoken and written language. So, we sometimes get orthography which is phoneticised for emphasis, or simply because it is reflecting the spoken language influence on text messaging. We also get, in varying degrees, and depending on the author, use of formal grammar constructs from written language. Other things to consider is the fact that text messaging often utilises the spoken language feature of turn-taking, and takes on a conversational, informal tenor, too.

Hopefully I'm showing how this works. You need to be able to show how the context of the language being used -- so, the mode, the function, and so on -- impact the way in which it is used. This isn't so hard as it first appears, because all these things are pretty interconnected anwyay. Our language use is always affected by contextual factors, so the thing you really need to work on is indentifying the contextual factors in the case you are given.

Oliver W. A Level Philosophy tutor, A Level English tutor, A Level En...

9 months ago

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